"the brave one" is jodie foster's latest blockbuster breakthru by some art-house director neil jordan with the helpful upstaging thru charismatic terrence howard. so would "the brave one" be a smash hit? obviously, it sells well but would its crucial viewpoint be taken without being misled and over-generalized as another "chic with vengence" rehash, especially from male audience? another sort of chic/woman's flicks about strong woman risen up against all the odds just like 40s "mildred pierce"?
it's a story about a woman and her husband-to-be being almost beaten to death in the central park. she survives but her loved one passes. so triggered by her anger over the injustice and grievance as well as approaching fright, she purchases a gun for the sense of safety. then some other perilous events drive her into using her lethal pistol into immediate killings which she's obtained great kicks from until she actively sets her path into disposing of the genuine evil men that includes her fiancee' murderers. therefore, she's become an involuntary vigilante partially forced by circumstances.
"the brave one" is actually a film noir to its essence but inevitably it over-lingers over the sentimentalities of a woman's traumatic pysche after the catastrophe such as the self-inflicted confession over the radio-broadcastings, and those attributes are easily categorized as "feminist refugee" like 90s "thelma and louis".
there're four basic elements of film noirs that this flick's contour could ascribe: 1. the dark side of humanity over sex or violence. 2. anarchistic distrust over the law. 3. a vigilante to perform the justice on his own, usually private dick like philip marlowe. 4. the seedy backset of a metropolitan's shadowy retreat like raymond chandler and james m cain's frequent spots of los angels, grendale, pasadena in southern california or danshiel hammet's san fransisco. and "the brave one" is about human's potential appetite of violence being provoked by grand tragedy, and the woman protagonist's distrust over the law is so severe that she has to buy a gun to feel safe, then bang bang bang! she would do justice on her own, a vigilante! and it's about the dark corners of new york as well as her obsession over this super-metropolitan that's well-channeled by her radio-broadcastings...unfortunately these traits have been neglected by the viewers, does it occur to you that audience cannot deem it as film noir just becuz the vigilante protagonist ain't male despite jodie foster has every believable characteristic of a tough guy inside her? or it's too sentimental to be taken as noirish? or it's becuz the director hasn't toyed enough of cinematography of starkness but chose naturalistic rendering instead?
still, it's very engrossing to put a woman into a spot in this kind of story as gender-reversal. jodie foster has a genuine grit in her and her "tough guy" ain't like uma thurman's cartoonish "kill bill"(a semi-dominatrix vixen in boyish pulp), she conveys real fragility as well as genuine toughness to win the odds. probably she's the only woman actress who could pull off the task of action heroine without taunting her sex appeal. perhaps, a woman in the main spot would bring out some feminine aspects to mellow out such material which is supposed to be harsher, rougher and more expressionistic to be considered noirish. pitifully "the brave one" would still be labelled as "chic flick", "woman's movie" or "feministic refugee".